In Perspective: Courtney MacNeil On the Fast-Paced Content Marketing Scene and Creating Meaningful Connections

By July 28th, 2016

In case you missed it, our friends over at Spafax Content Marketing have a new website. Given their new look and refocused blog, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to gain some fresh perspective on the world of content marketing from their Senior Director, Business Development and Client Strategy, Courtney MacNeil.

In this latest edition of  Spafax Perspectives, Courtney discusses Spafax Content Marketing’s ever-expanding client portfolio and the importance of understanding your audience (both literally and figuratively).

As an agency, we have traditionally been associated with the airline and travel sectors. Tell us how Spafax Content Marketing has expanded its client portfolio to include brands such as L’Oréal Luxe and Marchon Eyewear?

It was a natural evolution of our business, especially when you think in terms of audience. The key is to speak to consumers in their own language, and to consider the bigger picture: the same person who is flying and traveling around the world is also buying premium skincare products and fashionable eyewear. Our North American client portfolio is now more diverse than ever (beauty, accessories, technology, alcohol & spirits, food, home electronics, hotels, real-estate…), but it’s also made up of incredibly complementary brands. This type of alignment makes it easy to connect the dots and to push forward bold new ideas.

“The same person who is flying and traveling around the world is also buying premium skincare products and fashionable eyewear.”

When it comes to content marketing, understanding your audience is key. How does Spafax approach delivering an experience that speaks to the client’s target audience?

We use whatever data we can track down to draw detailed insights about customer behavior. “What do they read?” “Where do they travel?” “What do they do in their free time?” “How much time do they spend online?” Until you start thinking about customers as humans (versus as buyers), you can’t truly tap into their culture or expect to create a meaningful connection. This isn’t always an easy process (international travellers can be an elusive bunch!) but it’s important, and pays off in the long run.

How has the content marketing environment changed over the past year? How do you expect it to evolve?

It’s increasingly competitive, and evolving by the minute. There’s always a new tool, new platform, or new methodology to test out – that’s what keeps it exciting! But I think it’s a confusing world for clients. It’s an agency’s responsibility to vet out new trends and to deliver strategies that are concise, compelling and appealing, not for their novelty factor, but for their commitment to tangible results.

In a sea of content, how does an agency produce work that stands out?

Agility, agility, agility. As an industry, we have to learn how to move faster and more affordably, without sacrificing the quality of work – not an easy task! The wow-factor of good content often depends on perfect timing, and if we can accelerate our collective pace, I think content will start to play a more dominant role in integrated global campaigns.

“Exceptional client service will remain a key differentiator for agencies.”

Also, as we shift into an increasingly digital, increasingly fast-paced world, exceptional client service will remain a key differentiator for agencies. In an automated world, a little bit of human kindness goes a long way and will be a content marketer’s secret weapon for success.